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Consolidated warns of cellphone call-back scam

Consolidated in Dickinson has issued a warning about the latest cellphone scam, known as the “one-ring scam.”

According to a press release, Better Business Bureaus across the country are seeing a rash of repots of “ring and run” on cellphones where returning a missed call from an unknown number leads to unforeseen charges. Scammers profit from individuals who are curious enough to return that missed call.

“Consolidated is encouraging people to review their cellphone statements and contact your cellular carrier immediately if you see unauthorized charges,” said Rhonda Dukart, Consolidated’s public relations manager. “Do not return a missed call if you do not recognize the number.”

A computer program originating outside the country dials American customers and lets the phone ring one or two times before hanging up. This is enough time to register on a phone’s missed-calls screen, but typically not enough time for a user to actually answer. Many people who receive a missed call will return the call. They are then charged approximately $20 for the call and $9 for every additional minute.

Many of the area codes are from the Caribbean Islands, but there is no way to really know where the calls are coming from. These area codes are connected with the scam: Antigua (473), Aruba (297), British Virgin Islands (284), Dominican Republic (809), Grenada (473) and Jamaica (876).